Retirement. Sounds great, right? Can’t wait to get there! In real life, retirement is not for the faint of heart. There are so many adjustments, some we prepared for, and others we never saw coming.
We prepared financially. We got debt free (thank you, Dave Ramsey!). We streamlined our commitments. We adjusted our budget. We planned our first trip! We made a list of projects we wanted to do that had been on a nearly eternal back burner.
But there were things we never saw coming:
Different Sleep Schedules. The first day, I got up as usual. I make my coffee. I read my Bible and pray for our family and our day. I walk my dog. All the normal stuff. I wander into my office and sit down at my computer. I busy myself with updates to our checking account, emails and Facebook. I return to the kitchen. I scan a few paragraphs of my current read. I dawdle around. I pace. When is this retired dude gonna wake up?
Spontaneous activities. Ed’s calendar had ruled him like an iron fist. When he retired, he wanted no calendarian restraints (yes, I just made that word up!). He gets up on, say a Tuesday morning, and says: “Let’s drive to the mountains today!” but I have a long-standing commitment on Tuesday morning. Do I have to choose between disappointing my husband or keeping my commitment?
Differing Values. While Ed worked, I filled every day with coffee dates with friends, the Pilates studio, writing, and mothers of pre-schoolers. One of my highest values was my commitment to these moms who my husband had never met. When my husband retired and began to share every day with me, he was pretty bewildered by how I protected time so I could be available for them. Do I have to give up the people and programs I value to be his partner in retirement?
24/7. Together. Every. Day. All. Day. How realistic is that expectation? In the kitchen. At the grocery store. In our home office. While I am making plans on the phone. In the checkbook. He has a better idea about how the things I have done for years without guidance can be, ahem, i-m-p-r-o-v-e-d. He wants to manage me. Do I have to share every element of my domain with him now? Is he now my boss?
Dealing with surprise issues?
Paul, The Apostle, talks a lot about life, and retirement is just a stage of life! Except in retirement, we have more time to practice living well! I have found hope and encouragement at the beginning of our retirement in this simple passage:
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” Romans 12:10 (MSG)
This is how I apply the instruction from this quote to our real life:
Different Sleep Schedules. I can be my husband’s good friend and love him deeply by allowing him to sleep.
Spontaneous activities. I can be authentic with Ed and say, “I already have plans, but let’s put this on the calendar for tomorrow.”
Differing Values. Let’s flee evil and hold on to all that is good. Together!
24/7. Together. Every. Day. All. Day. Easy-breezy! if at least one of us practices playing second fiddle. Even easier if both of us are!
This behavior is kind of a lost art. Your surprise issues in retirement, or in life as a whole, may be different than ours, but wouldn’t these simple instructions be helpful in resolving just about any issues as they came up? Try them out and let me know how things work out for you?